SHAH ALAM: YES this post should be the continuance of the earlier post. However as this is a defence and national security site I cannot ran a doom and gloom posts twice in a row. That posting will be next week.
Again, I am not claiming the items posted here are the definitive list. Far from it but I had always to try be as accurate as possible. I stand to be corrected of course. I may be accused of cheating by adding the LCS and Gempita but that is how the dice is rolled.
Five Things We Are Getting in RMK11
As the LCS started late in RMK10, it is obvious that it will be carried over in RMK11. From my calculations, some RM4 billion have already been disbursed for the project.
As the ceiling allocation for the project was reported to be RM9 billion expect the rest of the amount to be paid during the next five years or the five years after that (RMK12).
Furthermore, as the first ship is only expected to be delivered in 2019 and the rest in 10 months intervals, there is also the possibility that the allocation for the programme could be stretched out to RMK12 (2021-2026). This will be especially true if the programme is delayed due to various reasons. Lets hope it will not happen that way though!
2) Gempita (AV8)
Like the LCS, the national 8X8 project started late in RMK10, and the first vehicles were only started to be delivered within the last eight months. That however did not stop the operational deployment of the 8X8, now officially known as the Gempita though it was originally envisaged that initial operational capability to be declared by early next year.
12 of the Gempitas have now been deployed to Tawau since late January this year shortly after the vehicles were officially accepted into Army’s service.
I was told that the first unit to operate the Gempita, 19th RMR, will received its full allocation of vehicles by year end while the first vehicle equipped with the 30mm Denel turret is expected to delivered to its unit, an Armour regiment, any time now. In the meantime the variant fitted with the 30mm gun and ATGM turret is expected to be delivered by the fourth quarter.
Deftech, is expected to complete the delivery of the 257 Gempitas contracted within the next two years. Therefore like the LCS, funding for the project will be stretched out to RMK11
3) Light Scout Attack Helicopter
Following the Lahad Datu 2013 incursion, talk was rife an imminent purchase of at least six attack helicopters was imminent. and the Airbus Helicopters Tiger was supposed to be the prime candidate.
With a number of Army Air Wing’s pilots seconded to the French Army to fly on the Tigers everyone expected that a deal was foregone conclusion. However by early 2014 it appeared that the Defence Ministry had second thoughts about the Tigers and was looking instead at Bell Helicopters AH-1Z Super Cobra.
As if to counter the reports on the Super Cobra it was reported that the Tiger deal had been firmed up by the middle of 2014 but this time around it was supposed to be a lease deal. However by Lima 2015, all the talk of the Army buying or leasing attack helicopters had died down.
Instead of the gnarly attack helicopter, the more sensible (and much more cheaper) light scout attack helicopter became the mantra. And at Lima 2015, an MD Helicopter MD530G Scout helicopter was displayed. It also conducted flight demonstrations to VVIPS and some members of the media.
Boeing also brought its contender, another AH-6i albeit in a model form only. Both helicopters are derivatives of the Little Bird, the light scout attack helicopter which first saw service during the Vietnam war.
Industry sources have confirmed to Malaysian Defence that the light scout attack helicopter will be funded during RMK11. They however could not confirmed the numbers. It has been reported before that the requirement was between eight and 24. I will put my money that 12 will be procured.
During his winding-up speech for RMK11 at Parliament on June 15, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein stated that among others, the Royal Malaysian Air Force will procuring MPA in phases. It was the only new asset for RMAF which he had stated during the speech.
Industry sources have since informed Malaysian Defence that 4 MPA will be procured. However there was no indication the type of MPA. I am assuming that the most likely candidate will be the CN-235 MPA that was displayed during LIMA 2015 by PT Dirgantra of Indonesia. The aircraft was fitted with the Thales AMASCOS.
According to Thales “AMASCOS combines a powerful tactical command subsystem with the latest-generation sensor suites to ensure the success of maritime patrol and surveillance missions from maritime surveillance (EEZ surveillance, fishing, shipping and drug interdiction), anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, electronic intelligence (ELINT), joint littoral operations, search and rescue (SAR) and environmental monitoring”.
The AMASCOS are already installed on the four Beechcraft B200T MPA operated by RMAF. Two more systems were recently procured and are in the process of installation. The aircraft however is fitted with Telephonics RDR-1700 radars instead of the Ocean Master which was fitted on the CN-235 MPA displayed at Lima 2015.
A cheaper alternative will be the Beechcraft Super King Air 350 fitted with the same AMASCOS suite or the Saab MPA alternatives, the 2000 and the 340.
An over the top solution for the MPA requirement will be the Boeing P-8 Poseidon and Japan’s new Kawasaki P-1 MPA (below).
5) ASW Helicopter
The project to equip the RMN with six ASW helicopters was supposed to be funded in RMK10. However it was deferred. Fortunately it has now been revealed that the project had been approved for RMK11.
Three helicopters are expected to vie for the project, the AgustaWestland AW-159 Wildcat, the Sikorsky S-70 Seahawk and the Airbus Helicopter H225M Cougar.
If RMN were to base the helicopters on its three main surface combatants from the LCS, Lekiu, Jebat and the six Kedah class, the Wildcat will probably be chosen. If it was supposed to operate from the LCS only, the Cougar looks a strong bet.
More Deals for Deftech?
Apart from the five items above, industry sources said that there was a strong possibility that Deftech will also be given a contract for the manufacture the MRAP (derived from Thailand’s Chaiseri) and the AV6, most probably to replace the Condors operating in Lebanon by the Malaysian UNIFIL contingent.
Since I have yet to get further confirmation on these items I will just mentioned it in passing here. I will of course chase the leads after Hari Raya.
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